STORY: One deadly don. One young protege. Both in love with the same starlet. Who wins the girl in this felonious feat? REVIEW: Once Upon a Time… Bollywood movies were enamored by dreaded D’s of the underworld. They still are. Whether the story is told in retro-rap, or with stylish designer double Dons, or with gloss-free rawness of realism. This endless ‘lawless’ love affair continues. In OUATIMD, a love triangle forms the bloodline of the story, replete with ‘donnisms’, molls with maal and an overkill of ‘loaded’ dialogues pe dialogues. After Shoaib (Akshay) vanquishes his own gang-guru (in the prequel), he becomes the reigning mafioso with his terror squad spreading far and wide. Of course, Mumbai city wrapped in glam, glory and blood-soaked crime files is still fancied by the bhais (“Samundar ke baad Mumbai Shoaib se jani jaati hai!”).
Shoaib picks up young Aslam (Imran) from the chawls and takes him under his wing. Their ‘bhaihood’ is bullet-proof, only until years later when starlet Jasmine (Sonakshi) walks in and arrests Shoaib with her charm and gullibility. The rogue turns Romeo with obsession, but she’s already Aslam’s chosen ‘item’. Suddenly, the dons drop their other deadly dhandas to deal with crimes of passion instead (unbelievable!). Milan Luthria captures the essence of the period, packed with characters living behind ‘dark shades’ with an even darker conscience. This is a love story of a gangsta, it does not reopen dons’ crime diaries. The first part is more engaging; thereon, the sluggish pace lacks the same dum.
The heavy-duty dialogues (Rajat Aroraa) punch drama in the story, though at times too overbearing. The background score (Pritam & Anupam Amod) pitches in dramatically. This film has its moments, but it’s not as compelling as the prequel. Akshay does the bhai act with flamboyance and mojo. He gets a chance to do what he does best – herogiri (albeit less menacing, more entertaining), with charisma and clap-trap dialoguebaazi. Imran looks too suave for the part, but eventually rolls up his sleeves to play a don with dil, performing well in emotional scenes. Sonakshi pulls off a dabangg act to stand strong between two daunting dons.